Excessive nutrient loading in streams can come from urban and agricultural development and from wastewater treatment plant discharge. These wastes are rich in plant nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from human and
animal fecal matter, a byproduct of digestion. Most larger waste treatment plants are regulated by state and federal agencies. Excessive plant nutrients in streams and lakes causes over-growth of algae and a condition known as eutrophication where the water looks murky and is low in dissolved oxygen. Water quality problems result when dense concentrations of algae choke out the native aquatic species and reduce water clarity and recreational uses. Large amounts of decaying algae decreases dissolved oxygen in the water and may result in fish kills. Ammonia, a form of nitrogen, is also released from decaying algae and, in excessive amounts may cause tissue damage to fish. The natural occurrence of nitrogen and phosphorus in streams varies from one geographical region to another and comes from natural soil erosion, wildlife fecal matter and decomposition of organic material such as fallen leaves. Nitrogen and phosphorus are major plant nutrients essential for growth of aquatic vegetation and form the basis of aquatic food chains, but these concentrations are low in natural streams due to a high removal rate by vegetation and lack of excessive inputs.
Ozarks Clean Water Company recognizes the need to properly treat wastewater from the many smaller community wastewater treatment plants before it enters into our area streams and lakes. We therefore work to improve treatment systems and keep all our plants working properly and well maintained for the good of our communities, water quality and the quality of life we all enjoy in the Ozarks.